Amazon today announced an upcoming hiring spree set to bring 3,500 jobs to a half-dozen U.S. cities. The news is, of course, particularly notable amid a pandemic that has caused many industries to freeze hiring, while unemployment claims have soared across the country. It also finds the company doing that hiring in cities — many of which have seen citizens looking to move to less densely populated areas.
While many businesses have suffered the knock-on effects of COVID-19-related lockdowns, however, Amazon has found continued success. The company’s massive e-commerce platform has been deemed an essential service and its AWS platform has taken on an outsized role as the push for businesses to go all online has further accelerated.
The new jobs are “corporate and tech” per the company’s description, across a number of divisions, including AWS, Alexa, Amazon Advertising, Amazon Fashion, OpsTech and Amazon Fresh. The list of cities includes Dallas, Detroit, Denver, New York, Phoenix and San Diego, accounting for around 900,000 square feet of office space in all.
The New York location accounts for around 630,000 of that, courtesy of the company’s recent acquisition of Lord & Taylor’s former Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan, which it reportedly purchased from WeWork for north of $1 billion. Setting up an office in the former department store flagship isn’t quite confirmation of rumors that the company will turn former Sears and J.C. Penney stores into fulfillment centers, but it’s an equally clear indicator of the state of retail in 2020.
It’s also a much quieter approach than the planned “HQ2” in Long Island City, Queens, which found the company clashing with local protesters. The Manhattan office accounts for far and away the largest number of new jobs, at 2,000 of 3,500. The move comes as many tech workers in places like New York and San Francisco have considered fleeing the city.
Notably, the company is currently letting office employees continue to work from home through next January, Amazon anticipates that many will choose to return to its offices sooner. No specific timeline has been given for the new roles.